When it comes to reliability centered maintenance (RCM), there is a reason that hundreds of organizations around the world choose Aladon. We have a track record of over 30 years of implementing RCM in every industry on six continents. Because we recognize that implementation is the biggest challenge to the RCM methodology, we offer a step-by-step approach, with a go/no go decision at every stage. The initial process of analysis is the easy part, but it’s in the implementation of RCM that sets Aladon apart.
Implementing RCM often requires changes to existing work processes and tasks that require time and resources to complete. That’s why our approach is to mentor clients through the complete RCM process (planning, scoping, preparation and training, performing, review and audit, implementation and continuous improvement), rather than merely train them. While we know that the benefits of RCM in every industry outweigh the challenges, we nonetheless offer our clients opportunities to opt out of the process at every stage. This saves them from making large resource commitments and investments up front.
Where to start
So, the question becomes, “Where do we start in RCM?” Most consulting firms will recommend starting with a gap analysis. This is a good starting point to understand what processes and/or systems you already have in place that will lend themselves to a successful RCM journey. This “gap assessment” can be done internally with a basic understanding of the RCM steps.
Aladon recommends that an excellent starting point is reviewing the RCM process at the executive level. Reviewing and understanding the 8 steps of RCM and the 14 maxims of RCM will provide a basic understanding to build upon and assist with the gap assessment. Other reference material that should be reviewed and understood are SAE JA 1011, ISO 55000 International Standard for Asset Management and ISO 31000 Risk Management.
Building a Risk Hierarchy
Since RCM strategies are developed by identifying, understanding, and managing risk, you must ensure you have a risk register or process that aligns with your organizations’ mission and vision. Risk is comprised of consequences associated with the severity of a process or asset failing as well as the probability that the failure of a process or asset will occur. ISO 33000 defines risk as effect of uncertainty on objectives, and effect is defined as a positive or negative deviation from what is expected. Typical components of the consequence risk category align with Safety, Environment and Operations. Some other categories that have been used relate to Customer Satisfaction or Customer Perception and pure Financial Impacts. A great resource for establishing the risk register or matrix is ISO 33000. The RCM process seeks to remove or mitigate intolerable risks and manage tolerable risks if it is worth doing. Once consequences are defined by the organization, they can be applied to the different processes, system and assets at the organization.
For example, a simple process of asking the following question would suffice:
“..if the system fails, what are the consequences associated with each category?” A score is obtained, and then the next system, process or asset is reviewed. In doing this step, you can quickly identify where the high-risk systems, processes and asset reside and build a risk hierarchy. This hierarchy will help identify systems, processes, and assets that will benefit from and RCM analysis.
Identify critical assets
A concurrent step, or next step is to identify the processes, systems and assets that contribute to the successful mission and vision of the organization. These assets are typically contained in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or Enterprise Asset Management System (EAM). This is a critical step because you cannot manage processes, systems, or assets if you do not know you own them. Basically, you should perform a review of your asset hierarchy structure and assets within the hierarchy at some frequency to ensure accuracy. The hierarchy must align with how you want to track costs and reliability within your organization. An easy asset verification “walkdown” helps in determining the accuracy of your asset register. Simply printing a list of assets in specific areas and then walking through the area to verifying the assets are indeed captured is a good start. It is easy to do and will provide a quick indication of accuracy and level of effort needed to correct any deficiencies.
Review your maintenance business process
The next step in the journey to understanding where to start with RCM is reviewing your maintenance business processes. The output of RCM is the best maintenance strategy that can be applied to your organization to ensure reliability and mitigate risk. Therefore, a repository for this strategy needs to be in place. The repository for this strategy is your CMMS or EAM. Therefore, reviewing the maintenance and operational processes surrounding your CMMS/EAM should be undertaken. A typical approach would be to review each of the maintenance processes as it relates to the IPSECA acronym:
- Identify – How is work identified at the organization
- Plan – How is the work planned
- Schedule – How is work scheduled
- Execute – How is the work executed
- Complete – How is work completed and documented
- Analyze – what is analyzed on the work performed at the organization
A robust, documented, maintenance business process around these steps that define the process, roles and responsibilities is essential. A continuous improvement plan should also be in place. The improvement is typically driven by the “Analyze” step in the process. Basically, measure your performance at some defined frequency and adjust accordingly.
Determine key roles
At this point, we have reviewed systems and processes that lead to a successful RCM journey. The next step is determining the human capital necessary to have a successful journey. This doesn’t mean that new positions need to be created to support the journey. It does mean however, that existing roles need to be adapted or modified to meet the requirements of conducting analyses and implementing the RCM results successfully. Ideally, there would be an executive sponsor to champion the process and assist with any roadblocks or challenges that arise. The next key role would be an asset manager or maintenance manager that would champion the RCM process at the facility level. It’s important to allot ample to this person to:
- Be trained in the RCM process (Note the executive sponsor should also attend the RCM training)
- Identify and select processes and system for RCM analysis
- Research and obtain manuals and data for the assets under RCM review
- Schedule and participate in RCM analyses
- Direct the implementation of resultant maintenance strategies in the CMMS/EAM
Building the RCM team
RCM analyses are completed by people who know the asset the best. Therefore, operators and maintainers that are familiar with system, process or asset being reviewed should be involved with the analyses. Typically, there is an RCM facilitator, senior operator, senior maintainer, operator, maintainer and a subject matter expert on the facilitation team. Each of these members must have training on RCM to understand the methodology and vocabulary to conduct a successful analysis.
Once the above groundwork has been completed to ensure a successful RCM journey, you must receive training and determine to what level you want to go. If you desire to use an outside facilitator for your analyses, you can just do a three-day introductory course for all personnel that are anticipated to be among the RCM team members. An in-house facilitator would need to continue to the more advanced classes.
The training progression that Aladon offers is shown below.
>> Executive Overview: From the start, we spend one day reviewing the RCM process and methodology to an organization’s stakeholders, including: the C-suite, managers, union leaders, program sponsors or anyone who has oversight. The executive overview is focused on the benefits of an RCM-based improvement program and the requirements for successful implementation. From there, the company can decide if they want to proceed.
>> Introductory Training: We offer a three-day course with a designated team from the organization, including: engineers, operation managers, maintenance managers, union leaders and subject matter experts. After that, we again offer the organization a go/no go decision.
>> Advanced Facilitator Classroom Training: If the organization decides to continue, a select group from the introductory training course joins a 10-day facilitator training program. The facilitator program allows the organization to implement RCM on their own assets using their own people.
>> Facilitator Coaching and Mentoring: We assist a select group of the participants from the classroom training group through a pilot project where they analyze equipment they own. This is an onsite process and our experience has shown that the average facilitator delegate will need approximately three weeks of mentoring to be able to work independently. The mentoring and coaching includes activities such as asset prioritization, developing a risk framework, selecting equipment and scoping the analyses, planning the review meetings and audit, and ensuring all the resources are aligned for implementation. Once the classroom training and mentoring period is complete, we perform an onsite evaluation where we determine who has mastered the rigorous RCM3 process and is ready to become a facilitator.
In addition to this well-developed process, our practitioners typically have at least 15 years of experience. We assign each organization a certified network member with direct experience in their particular industry. The process of RCM is the same in every industry, but we know that industry expertise ensures better results.
There are others who know about RCM. At Aladon, we know what RCM is about.